Zesty Asian Coconut Dressing

I was in Mauritius with my family over Christmas – mum’s side of the family is Mauritian, so we visit every 3 years or so, with aunties, uncles and cousins all still over there! It’s such a privilege and a curse living with family around the world. On the one hand grateful to visit such beautiful places and on the other, so sad to not be able to just ‘pop in for a tea’ when you want to catch up. Thank gosh for skype!

Here’s my little man living free as a bird for a month with my hubby – lots of coconuts!

Looking out at this view brings an incredible sense of peace. Toes wriggling through the finest sand, smelling the sea, hearing the evening birds and teenagers playing volley ball until the last trace of light… All magic. Total magic.

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Anyway, onto cooking! A big get together was coming up for 40 people – not entirely uncommon in Mauritius – and I was put on salad detail. There is abundant cabbage in Mauritius and it’s often used as a salad, but instead of the usual pineapple and raisins, I thought I’d put an Asian spin on the dressing with abundant fresh lime, to break the cabbage down a little and make it easier to digest.

So, this simple dressing was born.

The finished salad with fresh parsley through to finish. You can use this dressing on any mild vegetable – fabulous for a chicken or beef salad too, on a bed of greens.

My question to you is this: Where are you from and what’s your favourite family food story?

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Zesty Asian Coconut Dressing Recipe
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INGREDIENTS

  • 100 ml coconut milk ( I used fresh coconut water / young coconut flesh half half to produce the milk, but tinned is fine if you don’t have access to fresh coconuts.
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • 3 tbsp mint
  • 1 inch long of lemongrass
  • 2 cm from a knob of fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup/ rice malt syrup (rice malt for fructose free)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 large limes use the juice only
  • pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pop everything into a food processor or mini mixer and blitz until everything finely chopped through the liquid.
  2. If you don’t have a mixer, just use a mortar and pestle to grind down the lemon grass and ginger and fine chop everything else for a chunkier style that will still have the same, gorgeous, zesty taste.
  3. I ended up using this twice. Firstly on a head of finely sliced white cabbage (it will look like a mountain of cabbage, but once the juices start to break the cabbage down, it will reduce in size considerably.)
  4. The second time I used it was when I had the privilege of tasting coconut palm heart – a revered, precious food reserved only for big celebrations. That is because the tree needs to come down to access the palm, and that isn’t allowed to happen often. The reason we got to have some, was because the cyclone that came past the Island while we were there, knocked a coconut palm sideways into our roof – fun and games – and my auntie had to get someone in to cut it down to prevent further damage. So, there you have it – something good comes from the bad and surprise, surprise, in the form of a feast! It is crunchy and mildly vegetal – perfect to be dressed with a big personality dressing!

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